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3Aug 2017

The Best Apps to Transform You Into a Productive Small Business Owner

As a small business owner, you need to wear a lot of hats. Accountant, Social Media Consultant, Marketing Manager, Customer Service Specialist; the list is long. Most big businesses have a presence on social media through the big apps like Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. For example, Melaleuca, a health and wellness manufacturer, uses theses apps to highlight their new Melaleuca products. But if you aren’t a global product manufacturer like Melaleuca, you need extra help.

Luckily there are hundreds of apps to help you become a better entrepreneur, and lighten the load just a little. We picked out 5 of the best apps for small business owners, some are well known, some you might have never heard of. Most of these tools are free for personal use and offer a business plan at a small monthly fee.

Get hyper-organized with Evernote

Evernote allows you to keep all your notes in an organized place. You can clip pieces of information from the web, tag them for easy searching and embedding pictures, tables, audio, and video. This tool allows you to access your business content wherever you are, on all your devices.

Become a financial whiz with Wave

Wave is an accounting software made specifically for small businesses with fewer than 10 employees. It’s the accounting service for non-accountants! It lets businesses easily track sales and expenses, manage invoices, pay employees, scan receipts and generate reports. They have several different apps to cover every aspect of small business accounting.

Don’t waste another minute with Toggle

Toggle is the simplest time tracker, designed to help you get things done. With one click, the timer tracks where every second of your time is going. You can track projects, view graphs, export timesheets, and sync your output with several other project management apps.

Make payments easy with Square

Square is perfect for businesses who depend on point-of-sale purchases, but have a limited budget for payment systems. You’ve probably come across Square already with its easy card-reader that can be plugged into a smartphone or tablet. It will allow you to scan payment cards and process the payments just like the big POS systems (all without the need for an internet connection).

Outsource tasks with Upwork

Upwork is the ultimate tool for small businesses with even smaller teams. Don’t have a graphic designer? Or a content writer? Or a mobile developer? Upwork allows you to hire freelancers by posting a job on their platform. You will be matched with the right freelancer for the job.

Even though a small business owner needs to be able to wear many hats, rest assured that you don’t need to be an expert in everything. With these mobile apps, your small business will be ready for anything that gets thrown its way. And it can all be done on-the-go, which is exactly where entrepreneur and small business owners are.

25Nov 2016

Five apps that make Outlook easier to use

For most us living in a hectic world of enterprise communication, our email client is where we spend most of our workday. It is the application that ties together all the other productivity apps we use on a daily basis. For Microsoft Office 365 users that means Outlook. Outlook is the leader in corporate email communications, as top companies like Melaleuca and others use it to expedite workflow.

While Microsoft has spent a great deal of time and resources trying to improve the Outlook interface, the app could still use some help when it comes to ease-of-use features. Here are five add-ins that could improve your daily interaction with the Outlook email client.

1: Bing Nearby

Whether it’s an onsite meeting with an important client or a lunch meeting with the team, it is important to get there on time. One of the best ways to keep yourself on schedule is to know exactly where you are going. The Bing Nearby app gives you instant access to Bing’s mapping features from within the confines of the Outlook interface.

Just click the Bing Nearby icon while you are composing a new message or creating a meeting on the calendar and you will see a dialog box in the right-hand pane. Type in an address or the name of a restaurant and the app will give you location choices. Click one of those choices and the pertinent location information will be attached to the message or calendar entry automatically.

2: PayPal

In today’s world, sending someone money can be accomplished with just a few clicks on the computer. However, the PayPal add-in for Outlook makes that process even simpler, assuming you have an account. While in Outlook writing a message, merely click the PayPal icon and you’ll be presented with a screen that will allow you to send a PayPal payment. All you need to fill out is the recipient’s address and your account password. Of course, the recipient will also need a PayPal account to collect the payment. The PayPal add-in is free, but depending on how you structured your account there may be a transaction fee attached.

3: DocuSign

Even in the digital age some documents must be signed—there is no way around it. However, with the help of the DocuSign add-in for Outlook, you can “sign” documents electronically without leaving your email client to do it.

The DocuSign add-in will lead you, and all the other signees of a document, through the process, clearly explaining each step along the way. Once the process is complete, the document will be signed just as well as if you had used a ballpoint pen.

The one catch is that DocuSign is not free. Installing the add-in to Outlook does not cost anything, but using it to get documents signed requires a subscription of at least $10/month—more for business uses. However, DocuSign does offer a 30-day free trial so you can check it out beforehand if you want. The expense is likely worth it for lawyers and real estate agents, for example. It may be worth it for your enterprise too.

4: Find Time

One of the more frustrating activities surrounding collaboration in an enterprise is scheduling a meeting time that works for everyone involved. This frustration goes beyond just finding a time when all the participants can attend, according to their Outlook calendars. People tend to have times during a workday when they would prefer to avoid having a meeting, for example. Find Time can help you find a meeting time that works best for all concerned.

Find Time will create a polling email for you to send to all potential meeting attendees. You can propose a meeting time or several times and the attendees can vote on which times they prefer. Find Time will compile the results and determine a time that the majority of attendees prefer. Problem solved and morale boosted.

Find Time was developed by a team at Microsoft and is a free add-in for Outlook. The service does require that you register an account the first time you use it.

5: IXD Secure Mail

Collaboration with team members about a project is all well and good, but sometimes you need to email sensitive documents that should remain confidential between the parties involved. This is where an encryption add-in for Outlook can come in handy.

IXD Secure Mail adds an extra level of encryption to an email and/or attachment to an email all within the Outlook interface. It does this by storing those documents in an encrypted form on a cloud-based server and coordinating access based on the information you provide.